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Immunology Notes
Part 3: Immune Response
Two types of immune responses:
A. Cell-mediated immunity: direct response of T cells to antigens
T cells are responsible for cell medicated immunity
 Killer cells bind to surface of invading cell, disrupt the membrane, and
destroy it by altering its internal environment
 Helper cells stimulate B cells to mature into plasma cells, which begin
to synthesize and secrete immunoglobulin (proteins with known
antibody activity)
 Suppressor cells reduce the humoral immunity
B. Humoral immunity: also called immunoglobulin-mediated immunity
Associated with circulating antibodies
B cells are responsible for humoral immunity
 B lymphocytes enlarge and divide to become mature plasma cells.
 The plasma cells secrete antibodies into blood and lymph
Five classes of immunoglobulin:
1. Neutralization: masks dangerous parts of bacterial
exotoxins, viruses
2. Agglutination : mismatched blood
3. Precipitation
IgG: makes up about 80% of plasma antibodies. It appears in all body
fluids and is the major antibacterial and antiviral antibody. Only one to
cross placenta
IgM: is the first immunoglobulin produced during an immune response.
It’s too large to easily cross membrane barriers and is usually present on
in the vascular system.
IgA: found mainly in body secretions, such as saliva, sweat, tears, mucus,
bile, and colostrums. It defends against pathogens on body surfaces,
especially those that enter the respiratory and GI tracts.
IgD: is present in plasma and is easily broke down, It’s the predominant
antibody on the surface of B cells and is mainly an antigen receptor.
IgE: the antibody involved in immediate hypersensitivity reactions, or
allergic reactions that develop within minutes of exposure to an antigen.
IgE stimulates the release of mast cell granules, which contain histamine
and heparin. Almost never in blood.
Complement system: part of the humoral immunity. It is the major mediator of
the inflammatory response and consists of 20 proteins circulating as functionally
inactive molecules.
System causes inflammation by increasing:
a. vascular permeability
b. chemostasis
c. phagocytosis
d. lysis of foreign cell
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------First Line of Defense:
A. Intact Skin/Epidermis: forms mechanical barrier that prevents entry of
pathogens and other harmful substances into the body.
1. Acid mantle: skin secretions (perspiration, sebum) make epidermal
surface acidic which inhibits bacterial growth; sebum contains
bactericidal chemicals
2. Keratin: provides resistance against acids, alkalis, and bacterial enzymes
B. Intact Mucous Membranes: form mechanical barrier that prevents entry of
1. Mucus: traps microorganisms in respiratory and digestive tracts
2. Nasal hairs: filter and trap microorganisms in nasal passages
3. Cilia: propel debris-laden mucus away from lower respiratory tract
4. Gastric juice: contains concentrated HCl and protein digesting enzymes
that destroy pathogens in the stomach
5. Acid mantel of vagina: inhibits growth of bacteria and fungi in female
reproductive tract
6. Lacrimal secretions (tears)/saliva: continuously lubricate and cleanse
eyes (tears) and oral cavity (saliva); contain lysozyme (enzyme that
destroys microorganisms)
7. Urine: normally acid pH inhibits growth; cleanses lower urinary tract as it
flushes from the body.
Second Line of Defense: Nonspecific Cellular and Chemical Defenses
A. Phagocytes: engulf and destroy pathogens that breach surface membrane
barriers; macrophages also contribute to immune response
B. Natural Killer cells: promote cell lysis by direct cell attack against virus-infected
or cancerous body cells; do not depend on specific antigen recognition.
C. Inflammatory Response: prevents spread of injurious agents to adjacent tissues,
disposes of pathogens and dead tissue cells, promotes tissue repair: chemical
mediators released attract phagocytes (and immunocompetent cells) to the
1. Inflammatory chemicals:
a. Histamine: from granules of basophils; released in response to
mechanical injury, presence of certain microbes, and chemicals
released by neutrophils; promotes vasodilation of local
arterioles, increases permeability of local capillaries – permits
exudates formation
b. Kinins (bradykinin, etc.): peptide formed from plasma protein
found in plasma, urine, saliva, lysosomes of some neutrophils
and other cells.
c. Prostaglandins: fatty acid molecule found in all cell
membranes; generated by lysosomal enzymes of neutrophils
and other cells; sensitize blood vessels to effects of other
inflammatory mediators
2. Four cardinal signs: redness, heat, swelling, pain (might also include
impairment of function)
3. Hyperemia: congestion with blood
4. Exudate: fluid containing proteins such as clotting factors and antibodies
5. Pus: mixture of dead or dying neurtophils, broken down tissue cells, and
living and dead pathogens
6. Abcess: inflammatory mechanism fails to clear area of debris; sac of pus
walled off by collagen fibers; surgical draining often needed before
healing occurs
D. Antimicrobial Proteins
1. Interferons: proteins released by virus-infected cells that protect
uninfected tissue cells from viral takeover; mobilizes the immune system
2. Complement: lysis microorganisms, enhances phagocytosis, intensifies
inflammatory and immune responses.
E. Fever: systemic response initiated by pyrogens; high body temperature inhibits
microbial multiplication and enhances body repair processes
Third Line of Defense: Specific Body Defenses, Immune Response